Corporate Amenity Space

Submitted by Marcella Fewox

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Project

Fortune 100 Oil & Gas Company

Houston United States

2015-09-15

Project Team

Architect

Doug Hellmann

Planning Design Research

Artist

Justin Dezendorf

Planning Design Research

Interior Designer

Heather Van Ravenswaay

Planning Design Research

Industry Resource

Arktura

Other

D.E. Harvey Builders

Overview

In 2014, this Fortune 100 Oil & Gas client committed to collocating their Houston-based employees from several different facilities to one site consisting of two newly constructed adjoining buildings. Planning Design Research (PDR) worked with the organization to define and execute a cohesive vision for their 550,000 sf of amenity and office space – one that was optimal for their culture, their workforce and their business.

Goals

The artwork, titled Bitmap, is located on an amenity floor, positioned at one end of a sky bridge connecting two buildings. The goal of the artwork is to serve as a focal point that draws employees into the amenity space while instilling pride and purpose through its symbolic representation of their business. It reinforces the company’s purpose and why employees come to work every day – to power civilization through oil and gas exploration and production. The goals of the building project were to increase collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation through employee connectedness. PDR designed the buildings’ amenity floors to bring employees together and spur the collaboration and innovation the company desired. By inviting employees into the amenity space, Bitmap supports the purpose of the design and the goals of the project. Bitmap is 9 ft tall by 17 ft wide and constructed of 4,378 polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) cutters – commonly used in drill bits – mounted on machined aluminum standoffs. It is the literal definition of its name – a map of (drill) bits, and its form is derived from defining basement depth levels within a gridded structure.

Process

Bitmap was created through the collaboration of designers, end users and industry partners. The concept was developed through the involvement of an employee focus group. The purpose of the focus group was to obtain input from end users on aspects of the amenity space design, including the artwork. In these meetings, employees provided input on concepts they felt most represented their business, and explored different materials relative to their work. It was through the focus group meetings that a depth to basement map – a tool used in oil exploration to help identify new oil ventures – was identified as the foundation of the concept, and PDC cutters were chosen as the preferred material. With this starting point, PDR designed the art piece to be an abstraction of the map commonly used within the company. The height variations of the mounted PDC cutters represent the varied depth to basement levels below the contiguous United States’ topography. The design went through an approval process with the client, where it received overwhelming approval. For fabrication of the piece, Arktura was engaged to construct Bitmap, translating PDR’s design into its final form. The project’s General Contractor, D.E. Harvey Builders, managed Bitmap’s installation.